In spring 2013, volunteers will be needed for several one-time or ongoing loon preservation projects. The time required for these efforts vary from a few days out of the season to weekly visits. The locations for these projects range throughout Emmet, Charlevoix, and Cheboygan Counties. Interested volunteers are asked to select from a list of locations (a verified loon breeding lake, suitable nesting lake, or experimental lake). Duties required will range from installing and removing nesting rafts, placing buoys, playing loon recordings on experimental lakes, visits to an adopted lake to record nesting data, etc…
In March a meeting and training session will take place at a to-be-selected location (likely Horizon Books in Petoskey) where participants will be shown an introduction video to Common Loons, examine a full-size Artificial Nesting Platform (ANI), a Loon Alert Buoy, and discuss experimental projects for expanding Northern Michigan’s breeding loon population.
During the last decade, Avian Botulism has taken an increasing toll on Common Loons, the fall of 2012 being another dreadful example. Most casualties are migrating loons from Canada and the U.P. but we’re seeing more from Northern Michigan (as banding has shown). While little, if nothing, is being done to resolve this disturbing trend, we can help maintain, and perhaps increase, our breeding population here. That is, focus on the living rather than just counting the dead.
If you visit or fish on a loon breeding lake, or are interested in getting involved in a project that gets you up close and personal with an Endangered Species (and a fascinating one at that), perhaps even be responsible for creating a brand new loon territory, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 231-548-3918 or 231-347-3688 and get on the list, or to get more information. You will be notified by email or phone when the initial meeting is scheduled. In April, an outdoor session will be scheduled at a nearby loon nesting lake where volunteers can experience firsthand what’s involved.